Dear Kathi

Next week I am participating in a focus group discussion on beauty aids. As part of my pre-work, I had to write a paragraph to my twenty year old self, about what I did as a younger woman to take care of my skin, and what I would want to say to myself about beauty in general. Here’s what I wrote:

First of all, I want you to understand how beautiful you are. I know you don’t always feel that way, but trust me, 20 year old self, in 30 years you will look back and regret that you didn’t have the self-confidence to appreciate how lovely you were. Second, keep moisturizing! Every day, twice a day. Always wash your face before you go to bed, wear sunscreen, and stay out of the sun. I know you think you look better with a tan, and sure you look nice with a healthy glow, but in the future you will pay the price with wrinkles and sun spots. Don’t do it!

That set me to thinking what else I might want to say to 20 year old Kathi. I have no great romantic longing to be 20 again. In fact, in spite of bumps along the way, I think now is the best time, the time where I feel the best and brightest. And sure, I would love to weigh what I did back then, and have fresh skin. But I wouldn’t trade the confidence and knowledge that life has provided for a dewy complexion and small waistline. So, here’s the rest of my note to self:

If there’s only one thing I can tell you, is that everything is going to work out. No matter what, no matter what life hands you, you will survive and thrive. Don’t be afraid, and for goodness sakes, take some risks! Keep your family close and your friends closer—in 30 years, they will still be your core. Work hard, play hard, keep laughing. Try to be as healthy in your habits as you can. Stay open to adventure, stay open to love, stay open to life. Be easy to work with, talk to. Trust your instincts, they will guide you well. If and when adversity strikes, don’t be a worm. Acknowledge your fears and keep going. You will be fine. I promise.

p.s. I love you very much! It took me some time to get that right, but when it happened, everything else pretty much fell into place.

It’s an interesting exercise; I encourage you to try it yourself. And, whatever you do, don’t forget to moisturize.

The end, for now

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